Dissertation

The role of organizational learning and social networks in school improvement: a case study of corrective action schools

Much research has been conducted on effective schools and school reform efforts. However, many schools are failing to meet the NCLB demands and an increasing number of schools are falling under the "in needs of improvement" sanctions, especially in the corrective action phase. The schools in the corrective action phase are those that have not Xlll met Yearly Adequate Progress (A YP) for three consecutive years. Current research suggests there may be more to school reform than intellectual and human capital investment. Reform efforts may require a shift in the way that change strategies are conceptualized and enacted within schools and the districts in which they reside. This shift would involve a move from a spotlight on individualized segments of the organization to engaging the entire system in a connected network. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the processes school staff used to diagnose problems, define solutions, and access effective strategies in corrective action schools. It also investigated how these schools implemented these reforms; determined in what ways and to what extent these reform efforts were diffused through the schools using the social networks of information, innovation, trust, knowledge, and communication; and the district's role in supporting reform. The study utilized a mixed methods case study design and analyzed results through the lens of organizational learning and social network analysis theories. The study involved two secondary schools in corrective action Year 3 in a large urban district. This study was intended to extend prior research and contribute to theory, policy and practice.

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